MINNEAPOLIS -- At some point, an NFL team can hit a breaking point with injuries.
The 2017 Green Bay Packers might have reached that moment on Oct. 15 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Although the team will never admit it -- at least not now, when there are games to be played, 10 more of them -- there was a hint of resignation in some of the voices in the Packers' locker room after Sunday's 23-10 loss that saw Aaron Rodgers (broken collarbone) plus three starting offensive linemen fall by the wayside. That was in addition to the three members of the starting defense -- all in the secondary -- who didn't even suit up for the game.
"Comical is not the right word, but it's almost ridiculous because of the luck -- the lack of luck -- we've had," Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said. "Over the years, it seems like we've been hit by the injury bug, this year more so than any.
"You can try and have a next-man-up mentality, but at the same time there's only so many guys we can get in there."
Said right guard Jahri Evans, one of the two offensive line starters who finished Sunday's game: "We took a hard blow. We lost a lot of guys."
By game's end, the Packers were playing Justin McCray at left tackle, Ulrick John at right tackle and Lucas Patrick at left guard. The Packers began with their sixth different starting offensive line combination in as many games after left tackle David Bakhtiari and right tackle Bryan Bulaga suited up on the same day for the first time this season. Bakhtiari lasted just 2½ quarters before his Week 1 hamstring injury flared up, and Bulaga left because of a concussion. Meanwhile, Lane Taylor, who finally was able to move back to his regular left guard spot after filling in at left tackle, got his right knee and ankle rolled into and couldn't finish.
"When I went out there for that series in the third quarter, it just started doing things that we didn't like," Bakhtiari said of his ailing hamstring. "Came back off and talked to them and we just thought it would be smart to sit."
Bakhtiari might have helped his cause by coming out of the game before it got worse, and Taylor said he believed he avoided a major injury. Still, it might be a less-than-ideal situation for quarterback Brett Hundley, who will make his first start Sunday against the Saints.
It wasn't much better on the defensive side. Cornerbacks Davon House (quad) and Kevin King (concussion) along with safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring) were inactive, then cornerback Quinten Rollins dropped out because of an ankle injury.
"Injuries are piled up on us here of late," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's a tough spot in our season that we're grinding through."
Perhaps things will improve after the bye, which comes after Sunday's game against the Saints. Rodgers' injury is no doubt the reason the Packers opened as four-point underdogs at home against New Orleans.
"I hate to go with this 'next man up' because we have a lot of 'next man up' being thrown into the wolves right now," Matthews said. "But we have to weather this storm somehow and get healthy, and get better. We will."